Now more than ever, cooking and baking have been bringing joy to Canadians. Creating new things in the kitchen has provided entertainment and comfort throughout the past year. Spring is here and it’s time to take the fun outside. Your grill can offer some creative methods for making fabulous baked desserts the whole family will love, and as a bonus, you won’t have to heat your oven or your home to get that delicious result.
We went to the experts on this one and checked in with Kyla Kennaley, Pastry Chef and Judge: The Great Canadian Baking Show Season 3 & 4, to ask our most burning questions when it comes to baking on the barbecue.
Why bake on the barbecue?
“Well, it’s cooler to cook on a barbecue than in a hot kitchen, which can be especially important in summer. The grill allows for controlled heat, and you can create a convection current by heating the grill to temperature, turning off one side of the burners, and baking on that side. This can be a huge advantage! Start by experimenting with drop cookies when you’re ready to bake, as it’s easier to learn how to control your baking with cookies before moving on to cakes and pies. Remember, even heat is the key to success when baking on the barbecue!”
What are some of the advantages of using a barbecue?
“A barbecue heats up faster than your oven, and a convection current bakes more evenly and cooks more quickly than an electric radiant heat oven. The heat factor can be particularly helpful, especially for holidays, as it frees up your oven to cook your turkey or roast beef with the drippings in the pan. Otherwise, you can always reheat the meat on the barbecue after resting it for an added barbecue smoky taste.
Baking on the barbecue allows you to entertain your guests and enjoy the great outdoors while you’re preparing dessert. Try baking a cake, brownies or bread pudding in a cast iron pan baked right on the grill – it produces a nice crispy edge, and you can use your side burner to make a creme anglaise at the same time.
And lastly, the barbecue adds a smokiness that is essential to any great grilled meal or baked barbecue treat.”
Charcoal vs Gas?
“Gas is controlled even heat and popular in most homes and apartments. However, charcoal is also an excellent option for cooking and baking, and can produce similar results to a gas grill.”
Favourite Barbecue Tools?
“I would suggest two essential tools for any serious griller: heavy oven mitts with long sleeves for excellent protection while working with the high heat of the barbecue, and a few good quality cast iron pans in multiple sizes so you always have what you need when the grilling mood strikes.”
This great advice is the perfect place to start if you are interested in baking on the barbecue at home. If you’re feeling inspired, consider trying out this cheesecake recipe from Maxim Lavoie, BBQ Guru, House of BBQ Experts. This cheesecake is delicious to eat as an afternoon snack or as a breakfast treat the next day, and the whole family can enjoy this cheesecake together. Maxim’s added words of advice: hide a piece for yourself; the cake won’t be there for long!
House of BBQ Experts Grilled Cheesecake
For the crust:
- ½ cup graham crumbs
- 1 tablespoon brown sugar
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- ¼ teaspoon freshly grated ginger
- 2 tablespoons Baking Spice Blend, such as House of BBQ Experts’ Cake spice mix
- 2 tablespoons melted butter
For the filling:
- 375g cream cheese (1½ packages)
- ½ cup white sugar
- 2 eggs
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Suggestions for topping:
- Fresh berries or fresh fruit slices
- Caramel topping
- Fruit compote
- Chocolate shavings
- Whipped cream
- Preheat the BBQ to 325 °F.
- In a small bowl, mix all the ingredients for the crust. Press the mixture into the bottom of a barbecue-safe dish – make sure the crust is approximately 1cm thick
- In a large bowl, beat the cream cheese, white sugar, and vanilla extract until smooth. Add the eggs, one at a time, and beat on low speed after each addition, until your filling is well blended. Pour filling into the crust.
- Bake over indirect heat on the BBQ for 20 to 25 minutes with the lid closed. After 20 minutes have passed, you may peek. Similar to baking in a conventional oven, to ensure the filling does not get overcooked, stick a toothpick in the center of the cheesecake. If it comes out clean, it is fully baked.
- When baking is done, let the dish cool and then refrigerate for 6 hours.
- Once the resting time is over, top as desired, serve and enjoy!
Max’s Pro Tip
“While waiting, prep a piece of meat for dinner. A low and slow BBQ recipe will keep the BBQ going all day, filling the air with an amazing smell and serving as a warming station at the same time. Truly, there is no better way to enjoy being outside!